Loyalists desert, Pakistan PM Imran Khan faces most serious challenge to his rule | Times of India

The following mention appeared in Times of India on Mar 11, 2022 at the following link

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/loyalists-desert-pakistan-pm-imran-khan-faces-most-serious-challenge-to-his-rule/articleshow/90140857.cms

Pakistan’s Prime Minister is facing the most serious challenge to his rule as senior party leaders desert him amid a renewed opposition push to box him in with street protests and demands he faces a no-confidence vote. 

A senior member of Khan’s government, Aleem Khan, joined a breakaway group of the ruling Tehreek-e-Insaf on Monday citing disappointment with the premier’s governance since he came to power in August 2018. Over the weekend, the prime minister’s former special assistant Nadeem Afzal Chan also defected to the opposition Pakistan Peoples Party. 

The PPP is converging on capital Islamabad Tuesday with thousands of its supporters and demanding that Khan either resign or face a vote of confidence. The opposition, which formally asked for a vote of no-confidence against Khan on Tuesday, needs the approval of 172 members in the 342-seat National Assembly or parliament’s lower house. 

“It’s quite a threatening, difficult situation for Khan,” said Ahmed Bilal Mehboob, president of the Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency in Islamabad. “He is trying to win back the support of his disgruntled leaders but its cost will be high. If he survives, he won’t be as strong as he was.”

The opposition has asked the speaker of the National Assembly to call a vote of no-confidence against Khan, Pakistan Peoples party lawmaker Shazia Marri  said. It’s not immediately clear when the speaker will ask for the vote. 

However, Khan has the backing of Pakistan’s powerful military that has ruled the nation for almost half its history. He has survived previous demands for his resignation by the opposition.

The latest pressure on the former cricket-star-turned-politician comes as he faces allegations of mismanaging the economy and foreign policy by the opposition. Plagued by the second-fastest growing inflation in Asia, Khan last week cut domestic energy prices to pacify public anger, despite agreeing with the International Monetary Fund to do the opposite.

The Pakistan Peoples Party and the Pakistan Democratic Movement, an alliance of opposition parties, have a combined 162 members. They also claim 24 disgruntled lawmakers of the Khan’s party will vote against him. Khan claims his majority is intact.

 

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